Literary analysis of yellow wallpaper: symbolism and gender (2023)

This article fromCustom-Writing.orgExperts includes a comprehensive analysis ofthe yellow wallpaper: The symbolism of the story, the most impressive literary devices used by Gilman, the point of view, the foreshadowing, and an explanation of the meaning of the ending.

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Literary analysis of yellow wallpaper: symbolism and gender (1)


  1. 🌈 Yellow Wallpaper: Color Symbolism Story Symbolism

  2. 📚 Literary Analysis

    (Video) The Yellow Wallpaper: Crash Course Literature 407

  3. 🔚 What does the end mean?

🌈 Yellow wallpaper: symbolism

How unfortunate is it for a woman to have a nervous breakdown just because of the yellow wallpaper? Of course, it's not just the wallpaper. You can learn this fromthe yellow wallpaperanalysis below.

Something is hidden behind all the colors and shapes in the villa's upper room. If you read the story more closely, you'll notice that color, space, and wallpaper serve as symbols.

If you are wondering why the wallpaper is yellow in history, we invite you to study this section.

Yellow wallpaper color symbolism

The pattern and color yellow convey a lot of detail about the storyteller. Let's find out the meaning of these details.

The color yellow would be associated with illness and weakness.In fact, we see the narrator suffering from an unknown mental disorder. Furthermore, as he describes in his diary, color is increasingly repulsive to him.

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To illustrate, we can use some of theotheroutside ofthe yellow wallpaper. The woman writes:

The color is awful enough, unreliable enough, and annoying enough...

the yellow wallpaper, entry 5

The only thing I can think of is the color of the paper! A yellow smell.

(Video) The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Symbols

the yellow wallpaper, entry 7

But there's more than that. Another interpretation goes back toFeminism and gender roles. The theme is central to the story. It may have been used to represent male oppression of women.

All the adjectives Gilman uses to describe the color there, like "terrible" and "annoying," line up perfectly with his feelings about inequality.

Another noteworthy thought is quite similar.Yellow is sometimes used in connection with some bad deeds.So the way John treats his wife can find representation in the wallpaper color. She sees imprisonment and paternalism as acts of male dominance.

Also, people dealing with severe obsessions tend to project their feelings, such as fear, onto simple objects. This would explain why the narrator is so crazy about the wallpaper and the color being yellow.

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However, there are more interpretations of the color yellow. According to one of themYellow represents decadence and caution.. It might fit into the story as we see the narrator's life and marriage fall apart, as well as his sanity.

In general, according to the symbolism of the colorsthe yellow wallpaperexplained, you can understand that attitude plays a much more crucial role than it seems.

What does yellow symbolize in yellow wallpaper?

There is no need to wonder what the color yellow symbolizes.the yellow wallpaper. There are different interpretations and you would have to read the entire article to find out. Although,Yellow is often associated with decay, illness and weakness.. Of course, it has to do with the narrator's sanity and life in general.

Why is the wallpaper yellow in the yellow wallpaper?

The wallpaper in the bedroom, which was probably once a child's room, is yellow, and it's no coincidence. Gilman may have known the true meaning of this color and may have chosen it on purpose. It is related to disease and decay. For this reason,the yellow wallpaper symbolizes the narrator's mental decline.

What does space on the yellow wallpaper symbolize?

To know what space symbolizesthe yellow wallpaper, we need to reorient the narrator's mental health. The precarious state of the place where everything happens represents decay.All the holes in the floor, the tears in the paper and the smell indicate the woman's bad condition.

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What does the woman with the yellow wallpaper symbolize?

At the beginning of the story, it is reasonable to think about it.the yellow wallpaperThe symbolism of r. In the end, however, it becomes clearThe mysterious figure of a lady behind the wallpaper personifies the narrator's despair and loneliness.. It seems to indicate how insecure and overwhelmed she feels.

📚 The yellow wallpaper: literary analysis

The various literary devices used by Gilmanthe yellow wallpaperTo markHorror. Some of them correspond to the themes. They help the reader piece together the puzzle as the story progresses. Dialogue, symbols (discussed in the next section), points of view: it all makes sense.

(Video) The Yellow Wallpaper Analysis

Yellow Literary Devices Wallpaper.

In what literary media are they used?the yellow wallpaper? The matter deserves attention.

Gilmannuses various means to establish the mood and describe the narrator's environment and feelings:

  • Repetitionit helps the reader understand how confused a woman is when she is constantly wondering what to do.

  • Then the narrator describes the wallpaper with whichDifferent definitions in the same sentence.

  • In addition to other standard literary devices such asmetaphorYpersonification, Gilman seems to enjoy the grip so muchIronyengage in the dialogue however you can.

The yellow wallpaper: point of view

The point of view is the central aspect of the whole story. Inthe yellow wallpaperIt is written like a diary, the story is told in the first person. The narrator focuses on your thoughts, feelings and views. So we have the opportunity to see everything from his point of view.

On the other hand, all events are filtered by your perception, so we cannot judge them objectively. As the story progresses, the narrator's mental health becomes less and less stable. It's hard to know if his story matches reality and the perceptions of the other characters.

He also confesses that he can't share everything with the newspaper. The reader may even miss some real events.

Vorahnung in yellow wallpaper

The images that Gilman creates usingomenEmthe yellow wallpapersets the mood for the whole story. The reader senses that something terrible is about to happen, but initially has only scattered clues.

Some of them look quite suspicious, like the teeth marks the narrator finds in the bed frame. She cannot say who left her. Later we can identify it as a sign that she has gone crazy. Furthermore, they can also mean that she doesn't tell the whole story.

Another use of omen is when the narrator is writing about "scary" things. This ties into his later use of the word "creep" and indicates his desperation.

🔚 What does the end mean?

Along with the main idea ofthe yellow wallpaper, readers are often confused by the ending.

Even as the narrator writes about his release, many questions remain unanswered. The woman doesn't just erase her true identity from the wallpaper. It continues along the mark on the wall.

(Video) Literary Criticism Analysis Walk-thru on "The Yellow Wallpaper"

The story stops there, and the reader can assume that the woman was trapped in another cage. This time, your "wallpaper" identity refuses to leave the room.

The ending can also be interpreted in a feminist way. In the narrator's desperate attempts to break free from her condescending husband, she remains trapped in her head.

Why does John faint at the end of The Yellow Wallpaper?

Some critics are convinced that John's unconsciousness indicates his weakness. Throughout history, he has been held up as an example of a "real man". In the end though, the truth about her more feminine side comes out. She faints, like a woman. This creates a balance of sorts, as the narrator becomes independent.

We hope that the above analysisthe yellow wallpaperit's useful. If you want to be fully aware of the true meaning of the story, you must see both.the yellow wallpaper SummaryYCharacterSections. And if you're looking for engaging story essay ideas, read on.This article.

🔗 References

  1. About "The Yellow Wallpaper" - UMBC

    (Video) Dr. Bernstein's Intro to Symbols in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


How does The Yellow Wallpaper symbolize gender roles? ›

Finally, the smothering symbolism of the wallpaper highlights the entrapment felt by women as they are controlled by men and society's standards. Then by tearing off the wallpaper, the woman asserts her freedom to express herself as an individual, instead of continuing to act as her husband's property.

What is the symbolism analysis for The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The yellow wallpaper in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a symbol of society and patriarchy. It is ugly, faded, and torn in some spots, and a figure of a woman is trapped in the paper. It symbolizes women, or the woman in the story, being trapped within the constraints of a patriarchal society.

What is the quote about gender in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over. […] And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads.”

What is an example of symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

Clearly, the wallpaper represents the structure of family, medicine, and tradition in which the narrator finds herself trapped. Wallpaper is domestic and humble, and Gilman skillfully uses this nightmarish, hideous paper as a symbol of the domestic life that traps so many women.

How does The Yellow Wallpaper symbolize feminism? ›

The Victorian wife had so little control over her own life that it was through these “frivolities” such as clothing and even wallpaper that these women exercised their autonomy. It seems significant, therefore, that the narrator's madness is expressed through the chiefly feminine symbol of wallpaper.

What does The Yellow Wallpaper say about a female reality? ›

"The Yellow Wallpaper" details the deterioration of a woman's mental health while she is on a "rest cure" on a rented summer country estate with her family. Her obsession with the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom marks her descent into psychosis from her depression throughout the story.

What does the baby symbolize in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The baby in "The Yellow Wallpaper" symbolizes what society expected of women in the late 19th-century, to be women and mothers.

What does her illness symbolize in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

In "The Yellow Wallpaper," the illness of the main character represents her deviation from the accepted norms for women's behavior in the late 1800s. She is diagnosed with neurasthenia, a common diagnosis of that time, which is defined as nervous excitability.

What is the symbolism of freedom in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The theme that deals with freedom corresponds with the woman feeling that she does not have any freedom in her life. The narrator feels controlled by her environment, specifically her husband, because of the room she has to live in.

What is the symbolism of yellow in literature? ›

Yellow: Writers may use the color yellow to symbolize creativity, happiness, optimism, and warmth—think of a yellow ray of sunlight poking out from a dark cloud. A common negative connotation of the color yellow is cowardice, popularized by the phrase “yellow-bellied.”

What does the husband symbolize in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

Marriage, in the eyes of the narrator represent a kind of imprisonment and suffocation by men. Because of her marriage, the narrator is held captive in the bonds of marriage and is unable to control her own mental stability. Her husband is often portrayed as a domineering man who treats the narrator as a child.

What does yellow symbolize? ›

Yellow is for happiness, hope and spontaneity

It's the color of the sun, smiley faces and sunflowers. Yellow is a color that's happy and youthful color, and it grabs your attention with its hope and positivity. For that reason, it can also be used to signify caution, like red and orange.

Did the female character speak differently from the male character in the story The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

There are references to gardens and nature, but those aren't necessarily feminine images. - Do the female characters speak differently than the male characters? The females speak from a place of powerlessness until the last journal entry.

How does The Yellow Wallpaper symbolize oppression? ›

In "The Yellow Wall-Paper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the protagonist is oppressed and represents the effect of the oppression of women in society. This effect is created by the use of complex symbols such as the house, the window, and the wall-paper which facilitate her oppression as well as her self expression.

What is oppressive nature of gender roles? ›

As defined by Webster, gender oppression is “unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power.” Gender discrimination, a form of gender oppression is “Attitudes, conditions or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender.” Despite the historical gains that women's rights activists fought for, ...

What is Gilman theory of gender inequality? ›

According to Gilman's theory, women are treated as “inferior” beings (Allen, 2009). The social relation between men and women is only meant to uphold men high. Women face sexual harassment, sexual assaults, and domestic violence. The sad news is that, these issues are still present in today's society (Madsen, 2000).

What is female subordination in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The Subordination of Women in Marriage

In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman uses the conventions of the psychological horror tale to critique the position of women within the institution of marriage, especially as practiced by the “respectable” classes of her time.

What gender is the baby in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

Answer and Explanation: The baby is a boy, though his name is never given. The narrator refers to the baby early on while describing how sweet he is and how good the nurse, Mary, is with him.

What are two symbols in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The most obvious motif in the story is the wallpaper, it takes centre stage and could even be described as a character in itself. It's importance lies in its symbolism, it represents the society of the time, the narrators desire for creative expression and her obsession with the paper symbolises madness.

What is the most important symbol in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

As the weeks and her isolation wear on, however, eventually her obsession with the wallpaper invades her senses and her mind. The wallpaper eventually comes to symbolize the trapped woman inside of the narrator, who is truly ill and in need of help, but being brushed off as weak and nervous by male doctors.

Why did the woman in The Yellow Wallpaper go crazy? ›

Due to her isolation in the yellow room, her brain is consumed with the color and her senses become entangled with the smell. The narrator's confinement is what ultimately drives her insane.

What does the woman behind the wallpaper represent? ›

The woman behind the wallpaper seems to represent the narrator's own sense of confinement and being oppressed, and she eventually identifies herself entirely with this mysterious figure.

Is the wife mentally ill in Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The narrator is brought by her physician husband to a summer retreat in the countryside to recover from her “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency”. There she is to rest, take tonics, air and exercise – and absolutely forbidden to engage in intellectual work until well again.

What does the wallpaper symbolize in The Yellow Wallpaper quizlet? ›

1)The Wallpaper symbolizes the domestic life of women. The more you look into the wallpaper the deeper you get and the more stuck you are. The more time you spend with your husband the more you are stuck and controlled by him.

Does yellow symbolize fear? ›

Given its supremely vibrant hue, yellow is associated with joy, happiness, and humor. However, it's also sometimes used to represent jealousy and fear.

What is the importance of symbolism? ›

The importance of symbolism can be seen in the earliest recorded forms of human storytelling—cave paintings and hieroglyphics—which are quite literally symbols representing more complex narratives or beliefs. Symbolism allows writers to express complex ideas while giving the reader a visual, sensory experience.

What does John refer to his wife as in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

He calls her “a blessed little goose” and vetoes her smallest wishes, such as when he refuses to switch bedrooms so as not to overindulge her “fancies.” Further, his dry, clinical rationality renders him uniquely unsuited to understand his imaginative wife.

What is the women's role in marriage in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The women 's role in marriage is limited to that of a domestic servant as her husband exercise authority over her life. I agree with this quote because during the nineteenth-century women under the institution of marriage were caged on a gender role of accepting control or instructions from men as a social expectation.

Does the woman hang herself in the end of The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

Although the story does not directly state this, it is believed that the narrator from "The Yellow Wallpaper" does hang herself at the end of the story. This is indicated in the passage where she discusses hiding a length of rope in her room and finding a way to escape her confinement, despite never leaving the room.

Why was the woman obsessed with The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

The narrator appears to be connecting her writing with the wallpaper and becoming obsessed with the wallpaper because the only thing she has control over seems to be her writing on paper and her ideas/obsession with the wallpaper.

What is the relationship between John and his wife in The Yellow Wallpaper? ›

He cares for his wife, but the unequal relationship in which they find themselves prevents him from truly understanding her and her problems. By treating her as a “case” or a “wife” and not as a person with a will of her own, he helps destroy her, which is the last thing he wants.


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